Sunday, March 8, 2009

Yard Sale Saturday

Well, I’ve missed a day of blogging. This is a good thing. Because I didn’t die and with any luck my followers – strangers who I’ve grown to like very much in a short time – have not all left. It is a good thing because blogging has become…but that’s another blog for later.

It was early yesterday morning and I was reading the amazing accumulated talent that is out there, and Karen’s voice came up the stairs, “I’m going to some yard sales! Want to come with me?!”

Translation: “We talked about this last week, get your shoes on and move it!

Wrenching myself away from the flickering flat screen, I plastered a smile on my face, and was soon careening through the garage, tying my right sneaker while hopping on my left. The car was already moving as I leapt, sprawling into the front seat and she was up to speed before I got the door fully closed and the seatbelt fastened. You have to get to yard sales early – preferably before they actually get started – so somebody else won’t buy the broken lawnmower for $15.00 before you get it.

“Do you have any cash or do we have to stop at the ATM?” I ask, catching my breath.

“We don’t have time to stop at the ATM,” she says.

Translation: Somebody is probably already ahead of us.

“And I’ve got some money but it’s a $!00.00 bill.”

Translation: You are going to be paying for everything out of your wallet, because I know you keep lots of dollar bills to use for cookies in the candy machine at your office.

I’m still wondering how she knows this when we reach the first yard sale. It is actually not a lawnmower we need – although I have never known us to buy anything at a yard sale because we needed it -- we are looking for stuff for Conner, our new grandbaby.

Karen is great at yard sales, she flies through them like a flock of buzzards. I have just reached the driveway, still tying my sneakers, and she throws an armful of baby clothes and toy trucks at me asking me to add them up so she can make an offer.

I’m struggling with why she is buying Conner toy trucks when he can’t even roll over or focus his eyes yet. “I’m going to keep them in our closet for later,” she says.

Translation: I know what you’re thinking. Don’t say a word. Scary.

Then she sees the painted white bureau. Even I have to admit that it is in pretty good shape, but I’m looking everywhere else and pretending I don’t hear her calling me. I see another toy truck and consider whether I can divert her attention with it.

“Mark! Don’t you think the kids need a bureau?”

Translation: Their house is a mess and they throw their clothes on the floor.

I can’ think of an answer fast enough and just wave the truck, vainly, in her direction.

“Look, Mark! It’s real wood too! Not cheap pressboard.”

Translation: It weighs a ton and Brian and I are going to get hernias hauling this up the narrow stairs to their apartment.”

“A couple of the drawers are a little loose, but you can fix those in no time.”

Translation: There goes the weekend.

“And we can paint it so it looks almost new!”

Translation: I am going paint it so it looks almost new! (Married men all know that the word “we” is actually a masculine singular pronoun.)

So I try one final ploy at reclaiming my weekend. “I really don’t think it will fit in the Highlander.”

“I’m sure you can find a way to fit it in.”

Translation: We’re leaving with it even if you have to remove the passenger seat and walk home.

And so it went, with more cute clothes, stuffed animals, utensils and dishes, some of which I think I recognized from when we sold them last year at our own yard sale, until all we were left with was her $100 bill.

Translation: No cookies at work next week. But it won’t matter because my back will be too sore to walk to the candy machine anyway. And I’ll need to clean out the drawer where I keep my negatives and slides because we need room for an entire fleet of toy trucks.

But were not finished because the final stop was an Estate Sale. Far different in tone from yard sales, I’ll save that for a later, maybe tomorrow’s blog.


  1. It's so nice that you understand the finer nuances of the impotance of things like yard sales BB...they are a very important part of life, almost as important as end of season sales at K never know what you might pick up for a couple of dollars you know...gosh!

  2. I meant IMPORTANCE!!!


  3. I hear tiger balm is great for backaches! Perhaps next time keep a stash of one dollar bills in your desk at work...cookies sure can make a long afternoon enjoyable! :o)

  4. Great post! I am super impressed with how fluent you are in the female language!
    Make sure to post pictures of the dresser, before and after would be nice ;)

    Make it a good week and buy yourself a candy bar, you deserve it!

  5. I like Karen more and more with each new mention of her. And with each new mention, I like you more too. I wrote a post about a garage sale I had once - interesting experience to say the least. Its a wonderful opportunity to watch humans in their finest hour. Particularly the males and females. One man's junk is indeeed another's treasure. Look forward to the estate sale post.

  6. Enjoyable read, Ernest, I mean Mark. I like the way Karen can read your mind. How do they do that?

  7. Most guys don't know the difference between and yard sale and an estate sale! I'm very impressed.

    We lived in an older neighborhood in Kansas City and the elderly neighbors were often passing to the great yard sale in the sky. But that meant estate sales!

  8. Hi B&B, I thought it was you reading Karen's mind...

    A lovely vignette Mark.

  9. Much as I love all three of you - I am on Karen's side this time. I was almost salivating, Gotta love a bargain!

  10. This is great. As a non-garage sale person, I had no idea that it was a fine art, to be practiced only by those mosts skilled. Where do I sign up for garage sale college? Is Karen offering up any internet classes? I would register, for sure.

  11. I had a friend who was a pro. It was like 7AM, hit the road and shop, shop, shop. I loved your translations--they made me smile and laugh. Take care!

  12. Yep! Karen is pretty good at this stuff. On her behalf, I thank all of you for the support.

  13. Are you really blogging at 3.45am?

  14. If google ever decides to put up a male-female translator, you need to be hired as consultant.

  15. Yep, us ladies are like that and proud of it!!
    Dude, you've got to stop stalking me. I mean seriously....No means No!!
    Did you get a copy of that little "legal" paper I had to file? If not, it's coming in the post.
    And........while we're on the subject of must be serious at my blog B&B. I can be silly at your blog but you must remain serious, somber and solemn at mine! Capish??

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  16. I am not a big yard sale fan and my hubby would really drag his feet in protest if I suggested it, but I do bargain hunt for toys and games and do have a stash here at the house for when the kids visit/grow-up.

  17. Really a great well done story. And one we can all relate to and interpret. See AirmanMom and Barry all of the other comments above.

    The only event in the whole year here in Exmore is a town-wide yard sale. Complete with a clasic car exhibit, food, music. Yeehaw! Sometime in September. Rows and rows of tables. Most of the "stuff" just shifts from one table to another from year to year. It is a neat event, yard saling (Google define says that is not a word except in German. Is yard sailing proper?) with all your neighbors. Your wife would really enjoy it. You would, too. Great bratwurst sandwiches, beer from the fire department tent, some totally cool classic cars, discussion about the cost of gas and how drought has ruined the tomato crop.

  18. I came by via your comment on some blog, and very glad I did - laughed out loud and even read bits to my better half!

  19. I love estate sales but, HATE yard sales. I don't want some little kid's communion dress or books written by Pia Zadora. Ack.

  20. Ha that 43 was not code(though it is my age). It was my cat, Pema, stepping on the keyboard.